If you expect something to turn out badly, it probably will. Pessimism is seldom disappointed. But the same principle also works in reverse. If you expect good things to happen, they usually do. There seems to be a natural cause-and-effect relationship between optimism and success. Why optimism should be chosen:

* Optimism and pessimism are powerful forces, and each of us must choose which we want to shape our outlook and our expectations. There is enough good and bad in everyone’s life – ample sorrow and happiness, sufficient joy and pain – to find a rational basis for either optimism or pessimism. You can choose to laugh or cry, bless or curse. It’s your decision: From which perspective do you want to view life? Will you look up in hope or down in despair?

* An optimistic attitude is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. The way you look at life will determine how you feel, how you perform, and how well you get along with other people. Conversely, negative thoughts, attitudes, and expectations feed on themselves; they become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Pessimism creates a dismal place where no one wants to live.

* The only thing more powerful than negativism is a positive affirmation, a world of optimism and hope.

* When a whole culture adopts an upward look, incredible things can be accomplished. Our nation has a grand tradition of optimism. When the world is seen as a hopeful, positive place, people are empowered to attempt and to achieve.

* In the absence of optimism, we are left with nothing but critics, naysayers, and prophets of doom. When a nation expects the worst from its people and institutions and its experts focus exclusively on faults, hope dies.

* Too many people spend too much time looking down rather than up, finding fault with their country’s political institutions, economic systems, educational establishments,  religious organizations, and – worst of all – with each other. Faultfinding expends so much negative energy that nothing is left over for positive action. Sure, there always will be things that need fixing. But the question is, do you want to spend your time and energy tearing things down or building them up?

* When we make critics our heroes or put them in control of our fate, something is wrong. It’s much easier to criticize than to create. When we revere the critics of society, we eventually become a society of critics, and when that happens, there is no room left for constructive optimism. When you’re an optimist, you’re more concerned with problem-solving than with useless carping about issues.

Dr Dale Ackley


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